What is my message?

This is the third post in a series of blogs about what media training trainees think when they come to a session. We talk here about what most trainees see as their goal going into media training – and how wrong they are.

Most people and, in this post, many executives don’t truly understand what news media are all about. This is a rather amazing thing given that many of us read newspapers daily, watch or listen to news broadcasts more often and often read a magazine or three monthly.  We see the proof of this in every media training session we run.  We ask trainees to tell us what stories about their organizations they would like to see in print or broadcast . Inevitable, one after another, trainees offer general, generic and (sorry) boring lines such as: “Our company is on the leading edge in our space of technology and we’re looking forward to a stellar future as one of the major companies in the country with an outstanding product line…”  This kind of general baffle gab doesn’t produce headlines.

No wonder reporters, faced with interview responses such as this, start looking for angles that will actually mean something to readers or viewers and listeners. Interviewees then complain that the reporter was ‘too tough’ and asked ‘tricky questions’.

What the trainees don’t understand, as they stand on the brink of a training session, is how to create messages that will resonate with media and, therefore, their audiences. They don’t understand how to craft an interview and take control sufficiently to press their messages home. They don’t understand what media want and need so they don’t have to go plumbing the depths to find something that justifies their research and travel time.

This is why executives and others need media training. It just isn’t enough to spout generalities and self-serving platitudes.


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